Steelmakers welcome levy of safeguard duty on imports

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Welcoming the government’s move to impose safeguard duty on steel imports, the Indian industry on Tuesday said it should help in curbing predatory pricing and surging imports.

“Government of India has recognized the issues being faced by the domestic steel industry arising out of dumping of steel from countries having surplus steel capacities,” Tata Steel the managing director T.V.Narendran said in a statement here.

“The safeguard duty should help in curbing predatory pricing and surging imports which has seen an increase of about 60 percent over the corresponding period of last year,” he said.

Essar Steel’s chief commercial officer H.Shivramkrishnan said: “This decision is a step in the right direction and recognises that the surge in import of hot rolled steel coils at unfair prices is a serious threat to the survival of the Indian steel industry.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced the government’s decision to impose a 20 percent safeguard duty on steel imports with immediate effect. The duty has been imposed on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel, in coils of a width of 600 mm or more.

It will be valid for 200 days, the finance minister told reporters here.

The Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) had examined the application from major producers – Steel Authority of India, Essar Steel and JSW Steel – and said it found “prima facie increased imports of (certain kinds of steel) have caused or are threatening to cause serious injury to domestic producers.”

The decision of the panel, comprising the commerce, steel and revenue secretaries, comes after the DGS recommended the duty on September 9.

The unchecked dumping of Chinese steel has been a major cause of concern for India’s steel and tyre manufacturing industries.

Last month, the government increased the import duty on select steel products by 2.5 percent, making it the second such hike within two months after a similar hike in June.

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